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FAQs about Red Calcareous and Coralline Algae Health/Disease & Pests

Related Articles: Coralline Marine Algae, Red Algae in GeneralAvoiding Algae Problems in Marine System, Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, Nutrient Control and Export, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs, Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown Algae, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

Related FAQs: Coralline Algae 1Coralline Algae 2, Coralline Algae 3, Coralline Algae 4, Coralline Algae Identification, Coralline Algae Behavior, Coralline Algae Compatibility/Control, Coralline Algae Selection, Coralline Algae Systems, Coralline Algae Nutrition, Coralline Algae Reproduction/Propagation, Red Algae in General, Red Algae 2, Red Algae 3, Red Algae Identification, Red Algae Behavior, Red Algae Compatibility, Red Algae Selection, Red Algae Systems, Red Algae Nutrition, Red Algae Disease, Red Algae Reproduction/Propagation, Marine Macro-Algae, Use in AquariumsMarine Algae ID 1, Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae Control FAQs II, Marine Algaecide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

The same conditions as for an archetypal Reef system suit corallines.
  Hippocampus bargibanti Whitney 1970, a Pygmy Seahorse.

Coralline Algae Turning Black      3/25/19
Hi WetWebMedia Crew,
I really need your expertise. In the last year or so the coraline algae in my 14-year-old reef tank started to develop black and gray patches and I can't figure out what do about it. Have you seen this before?
<Yes; usually some "other" algae (BGA) involvement; but have seen evidence of bacteria, sponges.... Can tell by sampling, looking through a microscope. Mostly occurs in "older" systems, ones w/ nutrient limitation/s.>
I came across another hobbyist on Reef2Reef with the same unsolved problem, and posted pictures for comparison, but that's the only information I could find. I've attached two pictures of one of the patches (taken two months apart) and a third picture that shows how the edge can sometimes be white, versus a diffuse yellow. The black patches feel the same as regular coralline, and go straight through the coralline structure. The red coralline algae is unaffected, and potentially a light pastel purple variety.
In case it's helpful to know a bit about my tank, it's a 14 year-old reef tank (46 gallon) with soft corals, invertebrates, and two small clownfish.
I run an Ecosystem 60 filter (chaetomorpha algae & mud), and have Current Marine LED lights (switched from florescent about 2 years ago).
Parameters today: Ca 420, dKH 8, Mg 1270 (using Salifert test kits), SG 1.025, 76 degrees F, pH 8.2 (with pH meter). I normally keep the calcium a bit lower, but in the last few months I've been maintaining higher levels in hopes of encouraging faster coralline growth.
<All good, but... Do you have measurable HPO4, NO3? What would I do at this point? A series of weekly large water changes (50% or so), with pre-made, stored water.>
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and of course for all the great information I've found on your site over the years!
<Hundreds of Kbytes please... for file size; not Megs. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coralline Algae Turning Black      4/3/19
Hi Bob,
Thanks for getting back to me. For some reason your email ended up in my junk email, so I almost missed it.
<Ah, happens>
The PO4 is less than .03 ppm and the NO3 is less than 2 mg/L (using Salifert test kits). I can see a hint of colour on the higher sensitivity tests, but they're almost perfectly clear.
<Mmm; (then, now) am going to suggest your coralline is being supplanted by BGA, Cyanobacteria. I would sample a bit, look under a scope (with cover slip, a drop of water); look for cells w/o a nucleus... IF enough magnification, a single loop/strand of DNA/chromosome>
How many weeks would you recommend performing the larger water changes, and would it be fine to break them up into biweekly 25% water changes?
Thanks again,
<Do you use, are you familiar w/ supplements that boost encrusting red algae growth? I'd have you look into... Perhaps the CaribSea Coral Up products: https://caribsea.com/aquarium/#
Bob Fenner>

Re: Coralline Algae Turning Black       4/4/19
Hi Bob,
I tried Chemiclean (http://boyd--enterprises.com/chemiclean/ ) out of desperation a couple months ago and it had no effect. It did kill my purple plating sponge though. Ugh, that hindsight : ( The black patches in my tank are rock-hard and can't be scraped off. Are there boring types of Cyanobacteria, that might survive the Chemiclean?
<There are situations/conditions in which this antibiotic "doesn't work" period>
No, I don't use Coral Up. I thought about trying it, but some of the reviews said it wasn't any better than standard supplementation and patience.
<Ah, yes. In general, this is my opinion as well>
It couldn't hurt though, so I'll try that if the extra water changes don't make a difference. That along with hunting down a friend with a microscope or waving a white flag and using the dead coralline as an excuse to cover all my live rock with expensive corals. LOL.
Thanks so much for your suggestions!
<Do you have a means of measuring ORP, RedOx potential? Am wondering if either yours is low, or by way of what is going on in your system has been driven low... A valuable measure of system viability. Do please search, read re... Bob Fenner>

White blotches on LR Case of the vanishing coralline algae. Likely a hitchhiker 10/7/2010
Dear whosoever responds . .
<Hi Sam, MikeV here.> .
Over the past few days I have begun noticing white blotches on my live rock.
<Brilliant white?>
Now I checked the archives and saw that for the most part it referred to a natural cycle of cauleperous(?) <Calcareous> algae. I do indeed have some in my tank, however I only allow it on the back glass, and it has never really spread elsewhere.
For lack of any euphemisms, it looks like bird crap. Imagine a car under a light pole at the airport for a few months. That is what my live rock looks like.
<Brilliant white blotches.>
There haven't been any rapid changes in my tank lately, and the coralline is continuing to spread as usual. If not a result of algae, what is it?
(Sorry if the answer is out there, but knowing very few scientific names I have a hard time even knowing what it is I'm dealing with)
<Coralline algae dues go through phases, but it tends to fade overall rather than produce white blotches. I had (and have) the same issue in my tank. It took me a while to figure it out. It was a sea urchin that must
have hitchhiked in on my live rock when very small. I found him late at night by using a flashlight. an Urchin will produce white blotches on the rock, as they eat the algae. You may want to do some poking around your tank after the lights go off and see if you can spot one.>
Best regards,

Few questions I need to ask you. Mmm, coralline hlth., allelo twixt spg., Alcy...   3/18/09
Hello Wet Web Crew!!!
Hello, to whom ever I may have the pleasure of speaking with! I haven't written in a while, but I've come across a few things going on weird in my tank. 135gal/tidepool II sump/fuge. Ok now to the weird stuff. All my parameters are spot on,(I calibrate my test eq regularly). I replaced pc & t6 bulbs about 3 months ago. I had coralline growing very nicely on the back wall, then all of a sudden, one day I noticed it was going away and what is left is either turning white or black,
<Not atypical with (just) a change in lighting... Reds/Rhodophytes,
including corallines are favored with lower intensity....>
My standpipes used to be covered in coralline and now they've got a lot of black and very dark green splotches on them. Look almost like that black mold that you get in walls, except this is in my tank.
<Mmm, yes... shows the succession of greens (and BGA likely) where there were corallines>
My toadstool has not been right since I moved it from my old 55 to my 135.
It's polyps don't come out like they used to and the plate part of it never extends further than stem. There is some kind of sponge that is coming out from under the Toadstool and I'm wondering if that's causing it's demise?
<Perhaps... could also be adjusting to the new lighting>
urrent=DSC_3514-1.jpg I've got better pics of it, just can't find them right now. I'll keep looking.
<Mmm... I would move (scrape) this sponge from the Toadstool base, or alternatively (though not as desirable), cut away and move the toadstool from the sponge here>
I used the same lighting system on my 55 as on the 135, just rearranged them in a hood, then added the new bulbs. I have placed the ones in question to levels that seem
<Here's the operative word... Mmm, using a PAR meter might enlighten one here>
comparable with how much light/flow they need. My finger leather was beautiful and growing great in the 55, about the size of a baseball. I put it in the 135 and it shrinks to maybe the size of a good wad of gum.
<Yikes... could be other factors at play though...>
I have frogspawn, 2 torch's, Gorgonia, Pavona coral, pom pom xenia, hairy Shrooms, one FLA Ric and the coral I got last summer from a fraggin demo Anthony did., It's doing ok. http://s202.photobucket.com/albums/aa50/cuttingras/135%20tank/?action=vie
<Uhh, likely the above stony corals, Xeniid, Corallimorphs... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above...>
Anyway, I know this is a lot of info, so I'm not going to be too needy. I know you guys are all busy so get to it as you can. Thanks and have a great day!!!! Thank YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Linda from Louisville, GA or cuttingras on 3reef.com
<Mmm... read on my friend, read on. Bob Fenner>

Corals live rock loosing color 3/16/2009
I have several reef and reef/fish systems. They range from 110 to 180 gallons.
I recently set up a Red Sea Max all in one.
<Nice units>
Generally I do not go for everything built units, however this system is very easy to childproof and with only one cord exiting for power
I thought it would be ideal for installation in a small office. Here is the problem, the water quality/clarity and fish health/activity are all excellent.
<This is a problem?>
The tank was set up with exceptionally beautiful live rock from my well established systems. The rock is or rather was almost 100 percent covered in thick red and purple coralline.
In addition I added some false Ricordea (Indonesia), red and blue stripe Actinodiscus, again taken from established tanks, with all growing and reproducing for at least twelve years. Finally I added a small Xenia
<Mmm, do keep this "contained" so it doesn't spread>
and a small Favia and small candy cane.
Because the Red Sea is shallow compared to my other tanks I gradually introduced them to what seems a stronger light.
Every one did well for about a month or so. Than the Xenia shrunk down to nubs.
<Likely allelopathy>
Since this is not that uncommon I did not panic. Than every coral and mushroom began to loose its color or completely bleach. The mushrooms shrank down to less than half their former size in the matter of a week.
<Or summat chemical, physical that's off>
I returned the corals to their previous homes , and with the exception of the Xenia all have come back fully. The aquarium remained a FOWLR system the live rock remained very colorful and all the coral and shell pieces within the sand bed were turning pink with coralline.
About a week ago I noticed that all that pink in the sand bed was gone, and now I see that over last several days all my coralline is starting to turn white.
The water parameters remain excellent, the tank received weekly iodine, Kalkwasser top offs and bimonthly small water changes. I have now taken out the nicer coralline live rock and I hope they will rebound. Can you give me an idea as to what you believe is the problem. Thanks
<I cannot... based on the data presented... but I do know how I might proceed... I'd lug/use water from the established systems you mention to do water changes here... reintroduce the invertebrate livestock on a punctuated basis (something new every few weeks). Bob Fenner>

Coralline algae die off and what to do to stop it. 01/24/09 Hello WWM crew, hope all is well. Anyway here goes. I have a 75 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump, 2 250 Metal Halide PFO pendant lights, About 100lbs of live sand and about 125 lbs of live rock. I run a CPR backpack skimmer, 5 marine land 650 powerheads in a figure 8 configuration, a bio wheel, with the wheels removed with 2 bags of Chemipure elite on the sump, some grape Caulerpa and some Chaeto. Livestock includes 1 blue chin trigger, 1 yellow tang, 1 Banggai cardinal, a maroon clown, and a lawnmower blenny. Plenty of snails crabs etc. Corals are a bubble coral, frogspawn, various mushrooms and zoos, a cabbage leather, 2 Featherdusters, large xenia population and a green star coral. Parameters are .30 nitrate, 0 nitrite, 0 phos, 0ammonia, calc around 500, ph is 8.3. System been going for around 1 year now. Here's the problem. Had a red slime outbreak and tried everything to solve it, changed bulbs, increased water movement, upped water changes, added the Caulerpa and the Chaeto, nothing it seemed to get worse. <Here's a little story I like to tell people struggling with Cyanobacteria. Once upon a time, our government, seeing as it had more money than it knew what to do with, decided to fund a little project... they paid a man to search the globe for any kind of life that might be able to survive on Mars. If you know anything about Mars, it's a totally uninhabitable place. After years of study and research, and searching high and low across the entire planet, the scientist in charge of this project determined that the only form of life on earth that might possibly survive on Mars would have to be a Cyanobacteria... some of which can be found living *inside* of rocks in places as unlivable as Death Valley. So what's the moral of this story? Simply that Cyano is a formidable opponent. So don't feel too bad when you can't kill it. Best to just try to keep it under control. Build a bigger refugium, get a more powerful protein skimmer, do more water changes... yes, indeed, you should do your best to fight it. But do also understand that you're always going to have at least a little bit of it and you're going to have break outs of it from time to time... it's just the way it goes.> Finally in a fit of anger I went to my LFS and bought some Aquamedic red slime remover that the guy recommended too me and said it was great. See where this is headed already don't you. It pissed off every coral I have even the star polyp. Everything pulled through though and the algae seems to have subsided for now. Now I am noticing all my purple coralline on my back glass is turning white and im worried its going to affect my growth on my rocks( I was so excited that my back glass was finally getting covered, kinda sucks) Is there anything I can do to reverse this problem?. <Unfortunately, what's dead is dead. The dead coralline won't come back to life. But it will grow back... in time. Oddly enough, the change in lighting might have contributed to the problem, but who knows for sure?> I've already done a 50% water change like the bottle said to on the third day of treatment. Please help. Thanks, <Just keep doing your best to keep your water quality as high as possible (make sure you keep your Alk, calcium and Mg at good levels)... and be patient. I know it's a difficult hobby, but in time, it will get easier... keep reading/learning.> Devin <Cheers, Sara M.>

Coralline algae question 07/17/2008 Hi <<Good Morning, Andrew (the ghost) here today>> my 75g tank has been running successfully for more than a year with excellent coralline growth. Lately, however, some of the coralline on the back glass has been flaking off, sort of like old paint. It has not bleached and appears to be completely healthy even after falling to the bottom. New patches of coralline quickly colonize the bare glass. And there is no sign of coralline flaking off the rocks. Is this normal? My water parameters: 78-79 degrees, pH 8.0-8.1, dKH 12, Ca 375-400, barely detectable nitrate levels. I am running a Korallin calcium reactor and a Precision Marine Kalk reactor on the top off. I employ an AquaC EV-120, 2x175w 10000K MHs, and 130w of actinic PCs. I only supplement iodine. The only grazers are Turbos and a rabbitfish. <<Certainly nothing to worry about. The time to worry would be when the coralline does not grow back. Experienced this myself a few times>> My first instinct is that this is exactly what coralline algae probably does in the wild, and the smooth glass is probably the easiest surface for the algae to lose its grip on. But I was curious to know if you had seen anything similar before. I hate to rely solely on instinct. Thanks! <<As above, yes, had this myself, and its nothing to worry about>> Ed <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Coralline Algae Bleaching 01/16/2008 Hey guys, quick question: <<Hello Josh, Andrew here>> I recently bought some live rock and added it to my 20gal tank and at first it was covered with a lavender colored algae but its started bleaching out about 3 days in. I tested Cal :about 500, pH: about 8.4, sal: 1.022, Alk: what my color board says is normal, and Ammonia...my test isn't working but I just did a 50% water change before I put them in...is it normal for it to start bleaching when moved to a new tank? I have an Aqualight 1 x 60 light, would that be too much and should I move it to a shadier place? <<This is nothing to worry about. Coralline algae will acclimatize to your new lighting and a portion of it dying off (Turning white) is quite normal and it will soon grow back in time. Thanks! Josh <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Dead Coralline 12/31/2007 Hi Crew, <Hello, Mich here.> I have a 10-gallon set up over 4 years and thanks to the Crew I have enjoyed it. <Wow! Nice to hear!> I just moved it a few feet but that required that I remove most of the water. The top third of the tank ended up being without water for a few hours because I had to run an errand in the middle. So now the coralline algae on the glass is bleached in that section. Is there any need for me to remove it or can I let it stay. <I think you can let it stay with out too much of a problem.> My concern is that it may disintegrate and foul the water since it is such a small volume. <I would keep an eye on it. Watch you nitrate levels and if you have a PolyFilter might not hurt to through that in as well. Maybe have water ready to go in case you need to do a water change.> Thanks and have a happy New Year <Welcome and wish you and yours a Happy New Year as well! Mich>

Coralline/Coral problems -- 6/17/07 <Hello Matt> I have used your site many times to find answer to my problems! I have even written a few times. I am distressed about my corals and Coralline algae in my tank. First, this is what I am working with: 24 Gallon Nano cube with its original lighting which was set up in March of '06, I used mixture of distilled water/Red Sea Salt for water changes. I used to use Nutri Seawater before that. Almost a year...is that better than mixing your own? <Matt, Distilled water will contain impurities/nutrients that can affect your water quality. I would return to Nutri-systems if the results you had were better!> Anyway, I have two clowns, a dotty back, two pygmy gobies and a watchman goby in terms of fish. 2 porcelains,2 anemone crabs, sand sifting star, orange star, a variety of hermits maybe 15), Margarita, Turbos and bumble bee snails total of about 18), 2 feather worms doing great!) and my corals, I have a large rock of green polyps, a tree coral, and a finger leather coral Picture sent along) I have lost a few blue mushrooms that I had. My distress is coming from the fact that my Coralline seems to be bleaching and now my leather has a white spot on it as well. Also, the polyps which we once beautiful and open, covering the entire rock, barely come out and open up. The leather hasn't been in full "bloom" for weeks. It used to be beautiful...I do water changes every 12-15 days @ 20% changes. <Something in the water you are using is affecting your corals. Only use RO/DI water with a TDS reading of Zero. TDS meters are about $15USD and will let you know if your source water is contaminated. Please purchase one right away so you know that your source water is clean. Furthermore, IMO Nano tanks such as yours require a 5gallon water change weekly to keep nutrients low and must have clean source water for evaporation and for water changes> I just tested my water: CA 350ppm, Nitrates 0, Phosphates 0; PH 8.2. That is all I test for right now. Should I be testing for more? I also add iodine and Purple up as supplements. I guess what I am asking is several questions if you determine them from what I wrote. <CA is low and indicates a problem with Alkalinity also. Please search the site for articles pertaining to Calcium/alkalinity levels. Even though you indicate a 0 reading for phosphates I would still recommend an iron oxide resin phosphate remover be used and changed every 30 days. Please begin testing source water with a TDS meter/tester and begin testing for Alkalinity. I highly recommend the Salifert Test kits, They are very accurate> Should I be using a supplement that has everything in it? Kalkwasser? Go back to Nutri Seawater? <At this point return to Nutri Seawater and increase your water changes to 10gallons a week until things stabilize> In an unrelated (hopefully) incident, I lost all 3 peppermint shrimp in one night...very strange. Oh, one more thing. Every time an anemone molts, he loses a big claw and a leg maybe? Iodine problem? The fact that the invertebrates are dieing and having molting issues leads me to believe you may have some metal toxicity issue with the source water. Please try to find some RO/DI water and see if it helps> Any help is much appreciated!
<Rich aka Mr. Firemouth>

Coralline algae Mr. Fenner, I was reading your forums and found them very informative. A question that I have is that: I had a system (75gal.) running for 3 yrs, FO. I recently moved, I couldn't take the tank with me , so I  am now  setting up a smaller system as space permits ( FO... again). My live rock started to lose its coralline algae. I used Kent Pro buffer Dkh with coralline accelerator and Kent liquid calcium, I maintained all the proper levels with my water, my pH never had drastic changes and gave doses of Kalkwasser  as informed to by my LFS, it bloomed heavily but eventually it just died off. ( I have suspected the rock be of poor quality) But my real question is repopulating the rock as I don't want to unload any money on new rock. I thought about, getting a few pounds and  placing them around the old as well as obtaining some scrapings from my LFS display tanks, if they will ,and epoxying them to the rock hoping that it will repopulate. Will these methods work, or should I just cut my losses and enjoy new rock? <<Yes, can work. RMF>> I can still see plenty of small patches here and there and some very faint red polyps, but this is mainly on rock that was at the bottom and doesn't help my display. <Patience my friend, you are making soup in your tank.  Probably the best product for growing coralline (provided the lighting is strong enough) is Sea Chem's Liquid Calcium.  I've been told be a member of the crew that in two months I would have wicked coralline using this product. You do need to monitor calcium levels to make sure your at a 350-400ppm level. With proper lighting and using liquid calcium your coralline should look great in about two months.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank You Paul

Coralline algae Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 I recently wrote regarding coralline algae, I thank you for your fast response, and wisdom. I already purchased SeaChem liquid calcium and am researching GARF's items, but I came across something from CaribSea called " Purple - Up" and was wondering if you have any experience with this item? It claims to do a lot in short time ( If it sounds too good - it probably is ) Just wondering.  <Paul, you just answered your own question. We can't make ourselves grow fast, we are living beings, but we will be healthier if we eat right. Pretty much goes for the coralline supplements. The SeaChem LC will be fine and you should have plenty of coralline in a month or two providing the use of decent lighting. James (Salty Dog)>

Losing Coralline Algae - 06/12/05 It seems to me that I am losing some of my algae in my tank.  I keep the tank clean, also I keep the calcium, DT's, iodine and the strontium in my tank at all times.  I have a lot of live coral in my tank, and also fish.  There is a plate coral that seems to be dying a little on one end am I missing something?  I am not sure of what else to do? <<Not much info to go on here.  Coralline algae growth is a function of several factors...do have a read here and among the links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm  Eric R.>>

Live rock problem... actually coralline algae knowledge search  11/16/05 I have a live rock problem. The problem is that the purple color turns bleached white in a couple of days. Is this a pH problem, lighting problem? <Could be... either, both, and/or alkalinity, calcium, magnesium...> I have 400watt 20k <Does not favor coralline growth> halide chiller at 79 degrees, I <I> add the recommended amount of chemical for growth ect <etc... short for et cetera res, "and other things"> ... I also use purple up <A proper noun, capitalized> along with many other recommended chemicals. My calcium levels are in the 400-500 ppm range. Can you please help me. Many thanks for your time. Chris  <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and on to the linked files above... until you understand what you're looking for. Bob Fenner> 

Coralline algae   1/20/06 Hey Crew,  Over the last 5 years I have enjoyed a lush growth of pink algae along with mushroom anemones growing wild. The last few months I have noticed that the algae is slowly going away & the mushrooms aren't as full as they were. The water parameters are dKH is 8, Ca is 400.The lights are 110W Super Actinic-R & 110W Actinic white. What can I do, the lighting is changed every 6-9 mos. <Need a little more info Tom...size/depth of tank, additives being used, nitrate level, etc.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Tom Re: coralline algae   1/22/06 Your e-mail to me on 1/20 regarding coralline algae slowly going away, you asked for more info. Tank size 48w x 24h x 20d-ph-8.1 (a little low this morning) nitrate-0. Reef Advantage Calcium & Reef Builder. I've been using Coral Vital to bring back the pink algae.  Once again, thank you. <The lighting should be sufficient for coralline growth.  How long are the lights on per day?  Was there any change in the photoperiod?  Personally I don't care for Coral Vital, too expensive for what you are getting.  Better results can be obtained with Kent's Liquid Calcium.  Coral Vital runs around $13.00 for 6 ounces whereas the Kent product is $10.00 for 16 ounces.  Kent's will treat 6,000 gallons where the Coral Vital treats 3,500 gallons.  Try the Kent product and I believe you will see a difference.  The Reef Advantage Calcium should still be used.  James (Salty Dog)> Coralline Algae   1/18/06 Hey Crew,  Over the last 5 years I have enjoyed a lush growth of pink algae along with mushroom anemones growing wild. The last few months I have noticed that the algae is slowly going away & the mushrooms aren't as full as they were. The water parameters are dKH is 8, Ca is 400.The lights are 110W Super Actinic-R & 110W Actinic white. What can I do, the lighting is changed every 6-9 mos. Thanks, Tom <... perhaps an imbalance of magnesium/calcium... maybe you have a change in predation going on in this system... I would be switching out a good part of the substrate (rock, sand...) every six months or so... Have you read re corallines on WWM? Bob Fenner>

Coralline algae dying off, too much light??    3/29/06 Hey.  I was wondering if you could please help me solve the mystery of why the coralline algae (mainly the purple) is dying.  I have had the tank set up for 3 years now.  Though I have struggled maintaining good levels of calcium and alkalinity (mainly alkalinity), the live rock always looked pretty good, mostly covered with the purple coralline algae.  Around December of last year I changed my lighting from  two 55 watt PC 10K and two 55 watt PC actinic to FOUR 55 watt PC 10K and two 40 watt regular fluorescent actinic.  Since then the exposed purple coralline algae started dying off.  It turned a dull purple, slowly got white splotches and now is mostly white.  About a month ago I bought some SPS corals, so I exchanged the two fluorescent bulbs for two 175 watt metal halide 10K (Aragamax brand, they are quite blue) and changed the PCs back to two 10K and two actinic. The live rock didn't seem to get any worse or any better.   The only area where I still have healthy looking live rock is where a huge colony of Xenia elongata is growing.  I cut some of the xenia because it was getting too large and the purple coralline algae directly beneath it is started to look splotchy within a few days.  Is there anything about my lighting arrangement that is causing the coralline algae to die? <May be> The tank parameters are: 55 gallon temp 76-78 F salinity 1.024 pH 8.1-8.3 (depending on time of day) calcium 380 alkalinity 8.3 magnesium 1200 roughly 50 lbs of liverock 2-3 inch aragonite bottom protein skimmer, 2 Hagen powerheads and 2 Penguin hang-on filters with BioWheels All my corals: mushrooms, zooanthids, colt coral, Gorgonia, Montipora capricornis, xenia (pompom and elongata), Fungia, and frogspawn are growing wonderfully. <These might be acting on your corallines as well...> My inverts: 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 cleaner shrimp, 2 brittle stars, and numerous blue legged hermits and turbo snails have been in the tank for 3 years and look healthy. I do have healthy coralline algae growing in the tank (beneath the xenia colony) so this leads me to believe that all my water parameters are adequate. My second question pertains to maintaining calcium and alkalinity.  Currently they are: calc 380 and alk 8.3.  If I add any calcium the alk drops quickly.  If I raise alk the calc drops, but much slower. <Yep> I read the forums about maintaining the two and understand that it is difficult to have high levels of both at the same time, but why do I have low levels of both? <These are not low... and not easy to make, keep higher with much metabolic activity...> Do you think it may be the slightly low magnesium (1200) that is making raising calc and alkalinity difficult?   <Nope... your ratio is about right> I do 20% water changes every 2 weeks (I use Reef Crystals Marine Salt), to maintain proper conditions, but still struggle with the calc and alk.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks Jon <Likely just the balance of conditions is favoring your cnidarians over your encrusting red algae. Hey, ho, go with the flow. Bob Fenner> Bob, chemistry problem, Coralline algae   3/28/06   Bob, I will be in Kona end of April.  Any chance your in town?. <Am out here now... till 4/4... doing the Lavaman on 4/2!> Anyway problem is as follows. Cannot get Coralline algae to grow around the tank despite good chunks  of several rocks with good deposits on them.  Just can't get it to spread   throughout the tanks on base rock. pH 8.3 alkalinity 3.5 meq calcium off the scale 500+ op 300 spg 1.024 light (1)10k PC, and (1) 03 PC. i.e. 50/50 Very hard "Well water" is my water source, supply.  I'm expect  hard coral will love it. <Likely so> But I'm concerned that I somehow need to balance the chemistry. Any ideas  on this issue. <Would be better for the corallines to have a bit more alkalinity, a bit less calcium... I'd blend some lower-Ca water here...> No fish or coral added yet, but tons of other small life   multiplying from the live rock.  Tank has been running for about 4 months  now.   Thanks as always Bob F <Sorry to miss you in Kailua town... perhaps next time. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bob, chemistry problem,  Coralline algae  - 03/28/06 Bob what would be your thoughts on trying to strike a balance  by boosting alkalinity, via simple baking soda, sodium bicarbonate?   Bummer on getting together in Kona.  Next time. Bob F <Good idea... perhaps we were separated at girth, make that birth! Heeeeee! The other BobF>

Coralline Disappearing? Hi Folks, <Hi Louis, Don today> Mr. Nervous here again.  I have a 55 gallon salt tank that has currently cycle very nicely with about 30-40 lbs of LR from  Florida.  Things have started to proliferate on the rock including green algaes.  Don't know if you would consider them Macros, but I don't think so.  No real developed leaf structures.  Maybe really tiny ones.  They are more grass like.  All chem levels at this point are perfect at 0 with Nitrates at 10ppm, temp at 77 deg f, pH = 8.2..  These reading have been constant for at least a month.  I have a 4+ inch deep sand bed of Southdown sand from Home Depot with 20lbs of Gulf live sand, about 1/4 - 1/2 inch, spread over the top of the Southdown Sand.  Seaclone style skimmer in sump producing very light gunk and not a whole lot, but definitely bubbling over the cone.  No fish or coral at this point.  Still waiting to add another round of LR 30+ lbs this week and have it cycle.  Lighting is a Coralife 4 X 65W PC fixture, 2 actinics and 2 10,000K's.  Actinics on 12 hrs a day, 1 hr before the whites and 1 hr after the whites, whites on for 10 hrs. <All sounds good with the exception of the skimmer> Here is what I am nervous about now.  I believe from what I read that it is normal for coralline purples to suffer a die off initially but is the whitish\pale greenish powdery residue all over the LR and tank dying coralline?  The stuff seems to be increasing in quantity everyday and I am getting nervous and worried.  There is piles of the stuff on the LR and at the base of the LR on the substrate.  What can you suggest or tell me? <Coralline die off is to be expected but the coralline just lightens and turns white. This die off does not produce any 'piles' of material. Is the material you are describing loose? Sounds like detritus to me. If so, I would siphon as much as you can and use a small power head or turkey baster to help get the stuff into the water column so the mechanical filtration (skimmer) can remove it. You can try a sponge or poly type material in the sump to help trap the gunk. Just keep these clean. More water movement in the main tank may be necessary as well. Adding an assortment of snails should be OK now and will help with the cleanup. How are your water changes? You should be doing 10% a week at least. Better, 5-10% twice weekly.> I am ordering a Seachem calcium test kit as well as the Seachem alkalinity/ph test kit in hopes of uncovering some info and giving that to you as well.  The entire calcium/ph/alkalinity thing is really confusing and I am having trouble understanding your article content on the website, otherwise I would not be bothering you with this.  I have been adding some Seachem Reef Buffer but don't know if that really matters.   <This product will buffer pH and raise alkalinity. I would use it sparingly, if at all, until you can test the levels when the new kits arrive.> Thought the Southdown Sand would be helping in the buffering department.   <Yes it does> Is it bad that it is covered by the light covering of a much coarser live sand from the Gulf of Mexico?   <Not necessarily> Is the coralline die off just something I shouldn't worry about and let time tell?   <Yes, a natural occurrence and as you start to balance the alkalinity and calcium at beneficial level, it will come back. Balance is best reached through regular water changes with aerated, aged water, although you can use supplements as well. Patience> Is the powdery substance that is building up something else and not dying coralline? <As above> Thanks as always, <Hope this helps, Don> Louis

Missing Coralline - 8/20/03 Thanks a million!! Oh, you're welcome> I was hoping you would say that. By the way, yes, it is 180 litres, not gallons (40 US Gallons I think). <Woohoo. I'm observant. Heheheh> Typically though, I got home last night and noticed the coralline algae is starting to disappear! <there is a very good chance that this didn't happen in one day. Probably was happening for the last few days if not over the past week.> I noticed, after searching through the website that a few people have had this problem. <Usually calcium and/or other constituent minerals are missing, the tank is fairly new, or there is a coralline predator.> I just have to source the additives now. <Careful with adding additives. Be sure to test for anything you add. Too many bad things can happen in a hurry. I would recommend changing the water twice a week if possible. That usually will ensure proper balance for all minerals and keep the tank clean and healthy. A very good methodology, me thinks. -Paul> Thanks again, Rob

-Coralline crappin' out- Hi there, Your site totally "rocks" - no pun intended. <Ahh, live rock jokes, I'll let that one go. ;) > I'm newbie had a question regarding my live rock. I set up my 25 gallon tank with filtered seawater from Scripps in San Diego (is this good? I tested the specific gravity and it was a bit high ~ 1.025). <Actually, natural sea water is at least that high, if not higher (1.0265). The trend in aquarium keeping has been to have a lower level, which in a reef aquarium is not desirable.> Then went to the store and got 2 pieces (12lbs) of "cured" live rock which was mostly purple.  Placed it in my tank, added some aragonite, and then 5 damsels <Whoa, in a 25? Watch your ammonia, even though you have live rock in there.> (the guy said it would be okay to add them together)... today (3 days later), the cloud has settled, I've shaken off the dust on my live rock, and it's losing its dark purple. I see little white "tree-like" things starting to grow on the rock and the rock is turning brown. <The white is some of the purple coralline algae dying off. Having some coralline die is a pretty normal occurrence when buying rock.> One baby damsel is also having issues, it's not dead yet, but just lying on its side at the bottom (bad). Is everything ok? <Test your ammonia, nitrite and pH levels.> What should I to fix? <You can't treat the fish for anything b/c we don't know what it is. Just leave it be I suppose, and remove it if it kicks it.> I'm only running a Backpack with protein skimmer and built in bio filter. Should I also run the fluorescent lights constantly?  <No longer than 12 hours.> Also, because the fish were so stressed out, I stacked one live rock crooked on top of the other to provide more "hiding/cover" places for the fish... is this bad for the live rock? <Nope. I think you're in good shape other than the slight overstocking with damsels. Keep an eye on the potentially dieing damsel, since it may get/be sick and get everyone else sick as well. The coralline algae die off is not a big deal, if you want it to grow and flourish, you'll need to test and adjust your calcium and alkalinity regularly. I hope this helps! -Kevin> Thanks, any help would be appreciated.   Steve Coralline algae whitening Howdy Crew, << Hi there, Adam here. >> I'm having a problem with coralline algae turning white and disappearing. << Often times a low alkalinity problem. >> My tank has been up about 14 months and parameters are as follows: 38 gallon glass tank, 45 lbs. Fiji LR, ~50 lbs. live sand, SG 1.025, pH 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10 - 15.  Temp 79 degrees.  60 watts lighting total, 1 30-watt fluorescent and 1 30-watt actinic blue, on about 10 hours a day. << That doesn't sound like much light.  That may prevent coralline from growing, but would not explain the current coralline bleaching. >>  I also have a AquaC Remora with the MaxiJet 1200 upgrade running 24/7.  There are three additional powerheads (two Maxi-Jet 1200's and one Maxi-Jet 600) placed about for circulation.  I do an 8-gallon water change every 3 weeks. Occupants are two Peppermint Shrimp, one Percula Clown, one Royal Gamma, 6 or so turbo snails, and 6 - 8 small hermits.  I don't have any coral nor do I intend to keep any, hence the anemic lighting. << Makes sense. >> I was told the lighting would be enough to sustain live rock, and I believe it since the rock and coralline did fine for the first year (and even expanded to cover the powerheads and Remora pre-filter box), the problem has only been in the last couple months and seems to be getting worse.  All of the livestock has been in the tank for about a year with no obvious problems. Could the problem be a lack of calcium? << You guessed it.  The two things I would check for happen to be two items you didn't list.  Please check your calcium and alkalinity.  These two items are usually supplemented in a reef tank, to replenish what is being taken out.  However, if you don't have corals, then you can usually keep them up by water changes. >> My Peppermint Shrimp are doing fine and molt regularly, usually about once a month (often shortly after the water change).  If it's calcium, how do you recommend dosing it?  I'll need to get a test kit for it (I have no idea what my current level is as I only test the "standards" I listed above).  Do I have to worry about dosing calcium throwing off any other parameters (i.e., will this require I test a dozen other things to make sure nothing gets out of whack)?  Or maybe I'm way off base and it's something else entirely.  << I like adding liquid calcium and Kalkwasser to my tank.  You really shouldn't have to test for a bunch of other stuff.  You can (and I recommend) testing calcium, alkalinity, and pH.  Those three things can change with additives.  But please, don't use additives until you test first.  It's possible (and probable) that you have plenty of calcium, but with low alkalinity it isn't useable. >> Thanks in advance, and thanks for keeping the best aquarium resource I know of running! << Wow, thanks, how this works out for you. >>  Us mere mortals appreciate all you do. -Mike Gorman <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Why is my coralline algae turning white? Hey guys at WetWebMedia, << Blundell this afternoon. >> Your FAQ are a great help, but I cant seem to find all my answers there. Well here it goes. I have a 55 gallon AGA fishtank running for about 1 and a half months now with a Amiracle SL 150 wet/dry filter, and Eheim 2217 , a SeaClone 150, (2) AquaClear 402 and 1 MaxiJet 900  powerheads. a Coralife 48" double light strip with a total of 260watts (2 actinic and 2 10k bulbs) by the way I run the lights for 10-12 hrs a day. << Little light on lights, little heavy on mechanical in my opinion. >> 3 days ago I put in 50lbs of LR from Walt smith, I mean really amazing rock with turquoise green and red coralline algae but after 3 day the red has started to turn white the green seems to be turning white too but at a much slower rate.  << That is somewhat to be expected.  When coralline dies, it goes white.  It is hard to keep it all growing from shipment.  The real key is about 6 months away, then we'll see how your rock looks.  By that time, it shouldn't be white. >> Honestly, I haven't check any levels in the tank accept the temp is at 78 and the salinity at 1.023 . I have no fish in the tank and the rock was cured from Walt smith, or at least I believe so , but regardless there basically finishing up to cure in the main tank which again never had fish in it. What do I do to help keep the rock red and green?, why is it turning white?, should I do water changes? at what rate? In addition some pet shops tell me my skimmer is bad, is this true? I want to eventually add corals. << I wouldn't worry much about water changes, if you don't have fish, and you aren't feeding the tank.  Right now, I would just wait it out.  I would probably not run a skimmer at this time, until you are feeding the tank and have a need for one. >> Finally, can you explain to me if I should by a calcium reactor or can I maintain calcium levels by using "reef calcium"? << You definitely don't need a calcium reactor.  Especially at this stage.  The are helpful in fully stocked stony coral tanks, but you are a long ways from that.  I would save the money until you really need one. >> Thank You, Richard Layliev (Beginner Marine Lover) << Blundell, long time marine lover >>

Wants help with coralline algae Hi Bob, <Hi Sharon, Bob must be hugely busy as always so you got me tonight  MacL> Thanks for all your interesting answers to everyone's questions. I have always found what I needed to know by reading about problems other people have had. However, I'm really stumped this time and would appreciate your help. <Lets see if I can help you.> I have a 75g marine tank with about 100lbs live rock, running with 2 power heads and a protein skimmer. Water change 15% every week, with 1 oz. carbon in the skimmer. Lights are 2 power compacts, total 400W (1/2 actinic) - on for 12 hours a day. Corals are leathers (Staghorn and toadstool), pearl bubble, pulsing xenia (pulsing like crazy), zoanthid, 2 open brains, green star polyp, a few mushrooms. A bubble tip anemone (got that before I found your website!) All corals plus the anemone really happy and growing, anemone recently split. Fish all happy and active - blue damsel, Chromis, mandarin, ocellaris, six line wrasse, firefish, Dottyback, watchman goby. Some blue legged hermits, red legged hermits, Astrea snails. One urchin. A very active spaghetti worm, never seen the worm but the tentacles are really long - fascinating to watch. Recently my beautiful purple coralline algae has started to turn very bright white in patches. It started in one section of the tank, and is now moving. The rock turns white over a few days, then goes back to dark green within a short period of time. The white then appears somewhere else. I have rubbed it to see if it is on the surface but it doesn't budge. There is some kind of green filament algae in patches which I pull off now and again if it gets too long, and there is a bit of green and purple algae growing on the substrate which I siphon off where possible during water changes. Nitrates 0, ammonia 0, salinity 1.024, alk 9dkh, calcium. one test says 350, another says 500. I took a water sample to my LFS and they said everything tests fine. <Did they do a calcium test do you actually know how much calcium is in the tank.> Have you any idea what is causing the algae to go white. The store said maybe the calcium level is too high and its attaching to the rocks. There is nothing precipitated in the water. Please tell me what you think is happening to my beautiful rocks. Many thanks, <I believe that anything stressful could send it into bleaching mode, usually though its light that does it? perhaps doing a water change with the lights on?> Sharon Bleaching Coralline? Hi Bob, <Scott F. in for Bob today> Thanks for all your interesting answers to everyone's questions. I have always found what I needed to know by reading about problems other people have had. However, I'm really stumped this time and would appreciate your help. <Hope we can be of service!> I have a 75g marine tank with about 100lbs live rock, running with 2 power heads and a protein skimmer. Water change 15% every week, with 1 oz. carbon in the skimmer. Lights are 2 power compacts, total 400W (1/2 actinic) - on for 12 hours a day. Corals are leathers (Staghorn and toadstool), pearl bubble, pulsing Xenia (pulsing like crazy), Zoanthid, 2 Open Brains, Green Star Polyp, a few mushrooms. <Sounds like a cool tank!> A Bubble Tip anemone (got that before I found your website!) <Oooh!> All corals plus the anemone really happy and growing, anemone recently split. <Can't argue with success!> Fish all happy and active - Blue Damsel, Chromis, Mandarin, Ocellaris, Sixline Wrasse, Firefish, Dottyback, Watchman Goby. Some Bluelegged hermits, Redlegged hermits, Astrea snails. One urchin. A very active spaghetti worm, never seen the worm but the tentacles are really long - fascinating to watch. <They sure are...> Recently my beautiful purple coralline algae has started to turn very bright white in patches. It started in one section of the tank, and is now moving. The rock turns white over a few days, then goes back to dark green within a short period of time. The white then appears somewhere else. I have rubbed it to see if it is on the surface but it doesn't budge. There is some kind of green filament algae in patches which I pull off now and again if it gets too long, and there is a bit of green and purple algae growing on the substrate which I siphon off where possible during water changes. <Sounds like some form of nuisance algae...Are you using aggressive protein skimming and a water change schedule> Nitrates 0, ammonia 0, salinity 1.024, alk 9dkh, calcium. one test says 350, another says 500. <That's a big range...I'd try yet another, more accurate kit to verify> I took a water sample to my LFS and they said everything tests fine. Have you any idea what is causing the algae to go white. The store said maybe the calcium level is too high and its attaching to the rocks. There is nothing precipitated in the water. <Well, calcium is but one requirement for coralline algae to thrive. Magnesium is important, too. Changing light levels and current patterns are also contributors. "Light shock" as a result of decreasing water levels in the tank can be a factor. Do consider checking for magnesium. Perform regular small water changes with a high quality salt mix.> Please tell me what you think is happening to my beautiful rocks. Many thanks, Sharon <Well, Sharon. I think that you could investigate some of the other avenues that I've suggested here. Hopefully, they will yield some information that can suggest a cause. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Coralline algae disappearing fast I returned from being away for a week and I notice a sharp decrease in the amount of coralline algae (that's what the LFS said was growing on the LR--bright purple, but not "scales" as I've seen in pix) on my live rock. the tank (55gal) has been established for 6+months and the coralline algae has been flourishing--spreading to LR that had none, as well as to the shells of many snails. today I noticed that the purple growth has been picked clean from much of the LR and is disappearing in small patches from other LR. also, most of the coralline has disappeared from the snails' shells. I suspect a couple of hermit crabs that I've recently noticed are sporting a huge (relative to their size) claw. >>Sound right to me. I would probably remove those crabs. Any urchins in the tank? What is your Ca level?>> livestock--one percula, one yellow tang, about a dozen hermits, a couple dozen snails (half bumblebee, half bahia). recent changes--4 wks ago installed 4 VHO's--2 actinic, 2 10000K. (the actinics are in the back part of the hood, and nearly all the coralline is gone from the "back side" of the LR--any correlation?) >> The lighting change could have something to do with it. 2 wks ago--added 3 powerheads on a tsunami wave timer. thanks ken baker

Re: coralline algae disappearing fast Ca is 315.  I will start (slowly) increasing using 2-part system. alkalinity is 8 dKH.  I will raise that to about 10 before I add Ca.  phosphate is .15 ppm.  just added a bag of phosphate remover pellets. >>That all sounds good! Try to figure out where the phosphate is coming from.>> no urchins, and I will eliminate the large-clawed hermits. thanks!

Calcium, Alk, & Coralline Algae Now that I have figured out kH and was given good info on what to do on how to keep my calcium levels up. I had a question on coralline algae, my tank has been set up for a little over a year when I started the coralline grew like crazy but now it has started to turn white and now to a green color. I have been testing my calcium now for about 2 weeks. when I started it was about 280 ppm I have gotten it up to 320 these past 2 weeks but have had no color changes is this just a problem that will right itself when I achieve 400-450 ppm? <Yes, given all other conditions appropriate; lighting, nutrients, etc.> parameters 55 gallon long tank 330 watts pc lighting 110 watts 50-50 110 watts 10 k 110 9650k ph 8.2 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0 calcium 320 ppm kH 10.64meq/l sg 1.023 temp 79 degrees f still haven't found a alk. test kit <Salifert makes a nice, affordable kit. What a minute! How do you know what you KH is? Alkalinity is measured in two scales. One is German degrees of hardness, dKH, the other is milliequivalents per liter, meq/l.> Skilter need a real skimmer 2 power heads <Everything sounds ok. Calcium and alkalinity need to come up, but you know that.> inhabitants rose anemone 1 now gave one to friend maroon clown above buddy button polyps two colonies pagoda coral yellow star polyps encrusting gorgonian red tube worm colony 8 different color zoanthids 2 large candies 2 small candies pom-pom xenias 5 colonies long tactical Xenia getting big branching hammer large branching hammer frag branching frogspawn 1 green 1 brown flower pot 1 pink 1 tan Nepthea branching torch 4 large star colonies 3 colony pipe organ started with 1 medium cabbage was the size of the tip of my little finger Galaxea 4 colonies rose leather red moon? toad stool leather mushroom leather bubble Octo bubble sun coral cloves daisies 10 Christmas tree worms 2 serpent star fish 1 Scopas tang multiple crabs {hermit} multiple snails and a partridge in a pear tree <Wow, that is a pretty well packed 55. -Steven Pro>

Fading Corallines Hello Guys <Cheers, bub> I bought 3 pieces of live rock last week to add to my 120g aquarium. They are nicely covered in purple and red coralline algae, and a multitude of tube worms. Anyway, over the last couple of days I have noticed the purple patches of algae seem to be fading, and white faded spots are slowly appearing. <if the white patches are not loosely necrotic, but rather hard/calcareous then it sounds like the corallines are bleaching. Rough curing by vendor and/or low Calcium or Alk on yours> My water parameters are : pH 8.2 SG 1.023 dKH 14 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0 temp - 78 300 watts MH total - live rock placed in "sunny" areas calcium unknown - am dosing Kalk nightly though. <hmmm... a slightly high (but OK) Alk, do test for calcium too see if it isn't skewed or being precipitated by the high Alk. This would contribute to the corallines bleaching> My instincts tell me this is a die-off process,  <indeed. it may simply be that> my question to you - is this normal on the introduction of cured live rock?  <more a sign of live rock that cured rough> Is this phenomena just associated with the live rock acclimatizing ? <to a small extent at least> Do you recommend adding a calcium supplement ? <I'm content with Kalkwasser and buffer... but you may also consider tow-part liquid calcium or a calcium reactor just the same> Enjoy your day, I thank you in advance, Andrew <best regards, Anthony>

Disappearing Coralline Algae Hello Mr. Fenner, I have been reading the articles on WetWebMedia and I am very impressed that someone has put the time in to build such a great site. Anyways, I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank with 1 False Percula Clown, 1 Coral Beauty Angel and 1 Green Chromis. <Pretty low stocking density. I like it. You can get more fish, of course, but it is an unusual change of pace for the questions we routinely get.> My equipment consists of an Emperor 400 Filter, Aquarium Systems Seaclone Protein Skimmer and an All Glass power compact hood rated @ 2 x 55 watts and all has been running well for about 14 months. <And at 14 months you still only have three fish. I sincerely hope this is a sign of your patience and not of previous problems. If patience, congratulations. You are probably rewarded with a great diversity and number of critters; copepods, amphipods, worms, etc.> The problem that I have been having is that over the past 2 months my rock has been losing its coralline algae and the small organisms have all disappeared. I changed the PC bulbs the other day because they were 7 months old. <Not terribly old for PC lamps. Many can last up to one year.> Is there not enough lighting to maintain the coralline algae on the rock for this size tank? <No, should be fine for just coralline.> I changed my salt last week from Instant Ocean to Reef Crystals. Will that help bring the rock back or do I need to add something else to help the coralline algae grow. <I would check your pH, alkalinity, calcium, and nitrate levels to make sure you are in the appropriate ranges.> Also, I have dead rock outside my tank in a box. Would it be ok to put it in there as a base for the other rock? <I would soak it outside the tank for a few days and double check for any ammonia. There is a small concern for junk leaching out from deep inside the pore space.> Your comments would be sincerely appreciated. Thank You For Your Time, Jim Stawiarski <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Help with my coralline Hi Bob, <<You got JasonC today...>> Keep up the great job on the website. <<Will do.>> It's a very useful tool for the hobby. I have a 125 gal reef tank that has been established for close to 3 years now(1yr. as a fish and 2yr. as a reef only tank) I have lots of SPS and some LPS as well as a few softies. The lighting setup includes (3) 175w 10k MH, (2) 55w actinic CF, (2) 55w 10k Supersun CF, (1) 110w VHO 50/50, and (1) 110w VHO 03 actinic fluorescent. The total lighting is about 11 hours. The actinics start the cycle for about 1 1/2 hours, the CF and VHO fluorescents are on about 8 hours during which the MH turn on for about 5 hours, and the actinics finishing for another 1 1/2 hours. The chiller keeps the temp between 79 and 81 degrees. I have a Knop calcium reactor that has been installed for about four months filled with Korallith media The drip return having Ph of approx 6.8. The G3 protein skimmer w/2 Rio 2100's produces lots of solid gunk and I'm happy with its performance. Plenty of live rock (maybe 200 lbs) with a straight live sand bed. I'm not a big additive guy but I do admit to using sea-chem reef plus and reef complete bi weekly plus a weekly dose of Kent Lugol's solution. My water parameters are as follows : Ph goes between 8.6 and 8.8, <<That's a little on the high side...>> Ca.390-420, Mg.1000-1150, KH averages 9.6 - 10.8 . The Spec.Grav. is an average 1.023. Nine fish mostly small gobies, blennies & Basslets with a 4 inch Maroon clown who basks in his 12 inch Anemone. The corals are many acropora and Montipora frags, 4 parent acropora colonies, plus many others hard and soft corals. Most of which have been fragged in some way or another. (and both the parent and frags seem to be very happy in the tank.)............... Now for my problem. My Purple coralline has been fading to a white chalky color for some time now (maybe six months) with the edges being the whitest. The deep purple usually starts to regain its color soon after 35 gal water changes that I perform every 3 weeks or so, but starts the same fading soon after. (I'm using the AquaCraft 2-part Marine Environment Salt mixed with my own RO water) I've also noticed that instead of the deep purple encrusting coralline that used to grow on the glass, It has been replaced by a definite round, very light purple (almost lavender/white) algae of some sort about the diameter of a round toothpick. Although the same deep purple algae still grows on new and existing live rock. Six or so months ago I would of had to scrape that same coralline off the glass weekly, it grew so quickly. (I was using Kent part A & B as my calcium source back then). Do you think the addition of the Calcium Reactor or the higher Ph has anything to do with it? <<I would start with the higher pH.>> And if so...how do I safely lower it without using baking soda (which seems to only have a temporary effect as well as elevating the KH) My makeup water is plain RO water that has Ph of 8.1. but my Tank Ph never drops below 8.6 and has seen higher readings in the 8.9 range. <<That's too high - you need to look for what is causing your pH to be so high - you can pretty safely eliminate the calcium reactor.>> I use a regularly calibrated Hanna ProntoPh in the sump and also have a Hanna Phep handheld to double check my readings. <<You may need to resort to adding a weak acid - acetic [vinegar] or Muriatic - solution to the tank to bring down that pH.>> So....any help You may have will be greatly appreciated. I'd love to see my purple coralline turn purple again..=)..Write me back if you need anymore specs on my setup and I could also send you a picture of what I'm talking about if that's OK...let me know. Thanks, Shawn <<Cheers, J -- >>

Coralline Algae Hi Bob and experts, I brought few live rock recently with coralline algae, however some part of it turn white color. I add Coralife calcium, Kalkwasser plus (strontium & magnesium) and reef builder for ph control. Q1. Why it turn white ? <Could be a few things, combination... too little available calcium, too little alkalinity (what are your test readings?), too much imbalance with magnesium... scavengers eating it, other life forms out-competing it... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the many FAQs beyond where folks with similar questions have been answered> Q2. If too much calcium is added to the water, is there any side effect ? <Many... precipitation most outstandingly... Your test kits measure what?> Q3. After added calcium for about 1 week, I see some pinkish color substance appear on the dead live rock that is already in my tank. I used a brush to brush away some of it and it came off. It seem to be a red slime to me.. or is it the growth of coralline algae ? <Not coralline... typically very much hard, stuck on rock substrates> Q4. when coralline algae started to grow in a dead rock, is it something that look like red slime algae ? <Not really... not soft, moving in water current... more like encrusting scale... though there are softer, even branching varieties/species of corallines. Do read through the sections on marine algae, use on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Thanks a lot.. Danny

Coralline Algae Hi Bob, thank you for the help with my Anchor coral. I am happy to say he seems to be doing fine. I did add the vitamins.  My questions is concerning coralline algae color. I have the pink starting to grow over my rocks and back glass. Some of it is either turning white or is just white to begin with. Is that a normal color or do I have a problem? Nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, phosphate are all 0. My calcium is 450. Do I have an alkalinity (spelling???) problem? This is the one test kit I currently do not have. Please advise. Thank you, Andrew >> It is possible that you have hit the proverbial nail on the head...do get an alkalinity test kit... and don't worry unduly... the coralline will turn colors... and return to pinkish to red (if those species are involved) with a balance of alkalinity and biomineral concentration. Bob Fenner

Help Bob: Tonight my wife noticed something awful. My coralline algae is getting covered with green algae. I've written before, so you know the tank conditions. What should I do -- Get rid of my wife, or is there some way to reverse the situation? <A few things can be done... either changing the chemical and physical conditions to favor the encrusting reds/disfavor the greens (like elevating pH, insolubilizing phosphate by administering... Kalkwasser to a pH of about 8.4-8.5...), or adding some (more) green algae eaters (Mithrax Crabs, Salarias Blenny (one), Blue Legged Hermit Crabs...), placing organisms that will produce chemical antagonists (the usual plug here for macro-algae in your main tank, or a sump... ideally as a lighted mud/muck filter arrangement... Or just allowing "succession".... Keep the wife> I stopped Kalkwasser and started adding 5 ml of calcium each day along with tech A&B (plus usual chemicals each week). <Ahh, see above> By the way, it was 80 degrees here in Indy today!!!! Being a southern boy, I love spring when it's supposed to be here (not May, as usual for the Midwest). <Yeah, this last week visiting with friends in PA in the fish business and hobby, it was nicer there than back home in San Diego... Bob Fenner>

Coralline Algae Rob, I have read your website and have found lots of useful information. I just started my first marine tank I have had freshwater tanks for the past 10 years). I'm having trouble growing coralline algae. It is either bleaching or just wasting away. The tank is a 20H, I have a twin-tube fluorescent hood with one actinic blue bulb, and one full spectrum bulb centered around 5500 K. The calcium is at 400 ppm, the alkalinity is at 9 dKH, the ammonia and nitrates are almost undetectable. Any advice to remedy the situation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Adam Weingarten <Hmm, don't know what exactly you're looking for... the set-up you describe "is fine"... for culturing coralline red algae... do you have predators that may be eating it? Other nutrient availability? Competing photosynthates? If no to the above... time going by will grant you encrusting algae... Bob Fenner>

No Coralline Algae Growth Robert, The growth I spoke of in my last message has terminated. Now my problem is that I cannot get a growth of coralline algae (the purple type) on my live rock. The existing coralline seems ok but does not look healthy. Here are all the chemicals that I put in the tank. Any ideas??? Supplements added to my 90 Gallon tank; -B-Ionic 1 and 2 20ML per day -Kent Liquid Calcium 5 ml per day (kept at level of 440) -Strontium- Molybdenum 10 ml per week -Chelated Iron 5 ml per week -Combi-San 10 ml per week -Coral Vital 35 ml per week <Oh... my... this is a real mish-mash... depending on what's been put in, is still in solution... where are the readings for alkalinity, biominerals (calcium, strontium), iron... I would definitely drop the "snake oil" sugar/non-vital product... it's a scam and likely causing you trouble here... And do get, use test kits... and record their readings... and do look into just using a calcium reactor... and getting out of the "Supplement Madness" game... you're a prime candidate.> My tank: 90 Gallons, Power compacts and Fluorescent lamps 20 Gallon sump Protein Skimmer 6 small fish 200 pounds of live rock All water is deionized <Doesn't matter if the water you start with is de-ionized... with all the stuff you're pouring in... Please do read over the "Supplement", "Calcium", "Alkalinity", "Algae Filtration", "Calcium Reactor" and relate FAQs sections posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com site. I'd really like to help you save money, your mind and happiness in the hobby here. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp parasite and coralline algae questions Dear Bob, <Lorenzo here, responding for Bob-in-Indonesia> Well we survived ick thanks to your recommendations and now we have a cleaner shrimp problem. I mentioned that our shrimp had a growth on its side and you said there was nothing we could do about it but live with it. Now the shrimp's antennae are starting to look like they are becoming brittle. Is this related? Could the parasite be depleting the nutrients the shrimp needs? I've started feeding it vitamin enriched flakes (any vitamins we need to look specifically give it?) directly and added some calcium to the water. We can test the calcium levels since we purchased a kit (rather expensive). Our tang visits his shrimp regularly so I suspect he's eating parasites. <Sounds like you're doing pretty everything you reasonably can, for this shrimp.> I've also noticed that the beautiful coralline algae on our live rock from Fiji is dying off. We have florescent lights (2 actinic 2 full spectrum) and given the heat and blackouts in California, we're reluctant to upgrade to metal halide since we'll need to get into chillers. Do you think that increasing the calcium level would help? Our LFS recommended we add some every day. <Hmm. Coralline usually does fine under fluorescents, unless your tank is particularly deep, or the bulbs are quite old (>1 year) Metal Halide is definitely not necessary for healthy coralline. Yes, increasing the calcium level may help, especially if it's quite low, and if the 'full-spectrum' bulbs are more than 10-12 months old, I'd replace those as well. My favorites for standard fluorescent fixtures are the 180 degree (internal reflector) 'Trichromatic' from Coralife, the 'full-spectrum' from the local Home Depot definitely won't do. If you really want to upgrade your lighting without moving to MH, look to Power Compacts, or compact fluorescents, as they're sometimes called. Most modern, efficient lighting currently available to the hobbyist. Not cheap. But cheaper than MH! (especially the electricity!) -Lorenzo>

Coralline Algae Bleaching Bob Over the last three weeks I've noticed my once purple coralline algae is beginning to turn white. In a number of locations entire portions of rock have bleached white. The fish and corals don't seem to be effected. All my water test seem to be fine except the dKH which is always around 5 -6. I have trouble getting it up and am constantly adding Kent Superbuffer dKH. I have not added calcium because it seems to stay around 450 dropping to about 400 between water changes. About two months ago I put in a RO system and have been using RO water which requires me to use the dKH builder to get it up around 10 before doing the change. But it drops off fast in just a couple days. Does this sound right? <Yes, right and wrong...> And do you think this has anything to do with the bleaching? <Yes, likely there is a deficiency in total alkalinity at play here, though other inputs may be lacking as well.> The tank is 135 gal and I change @ 25 gal every 2 - 3 weeks. Any help would be appreciated Thanks Jim <Hmm, well... I would "jump ahead" and use a calcium reactor and all it entails... In the shorter term you could add simple sodium bicarbonate for a while... Please read over these possibilities, on our site, starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alkmarfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Coralline Algae Dear Robert, Thanks for your quick reply. The original tank in keeping these 2 live rocks: 15 Gallon Tank, 24" (L) 12" (H) 12" (D) Only 6 pieces of Fiji Live Rocks, no corals. Lighting of 2 pieces of standard 20W fluorescent tubes, one day white, one blue. <Ah, so not so much different than your set-up> Is that true that the 18W power compact tubes in Mini-Might will have a bigger intensity than the 40W standard fluorescent tubes that my friend used in his tank? <Mmm, yes... per watt consumed, per square surface area, per useful photonic energy> In my case, do you think it is better to put one more 18W Mini-Might to the existing one in my hex tank? <Yes> Since my tank is 20" high, will the 36W Mini-Might bleach the purple coralline algae? <Bleach? No. Also, this algae is likely just recuperating from being moved at this point. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Alex

Coralline Algae Dear Robert, Thanks again for your immediate reply. Do you think that two Mini-Might of total 36W will be better for my live rock, fish only and no corals tank? Will 36W be too bright for my small fishes? If I put one more 18W to my existing 18W, can I put two or three pieces of cured live rocks in? What will be the best light combination for my tank that consists only live rocks and fishes, no coral tank? 2 white and two blue or 3 white and 1 blue? Thanks, Alex <Mmm, please read the "marine light, lighting" pieces and FAQs archived on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com These queries are addressed there. Bob Fenner>

Coralline Algae Dear Robert, I have a problem on the coralline of my live rock. Try to ask a few pet shops people here but they all give me different answers. <Perhaps there are different answers> Talk to a buddy of mine and he suggests me to give you a e-mail. I have a hex tank made of Plexi-glass. Each side of the bottom is 10" and height of tank is 20". Only equipped with CPR BakPak, 200W heater, a internal power head for circulation and no fish. Last week, my buddy gave me two pieces of small live rocks all covered with purple coralline algae and 3 small damsels. ( Level of Calcium 400ppm and alkalinity 9 dKH.) <Last week...> But there isn't much room on top of my 10" hex to put a big lighting fixture. I only bought a new Coralife Mini-Might with 2 9-watt power compact tubes, one daylight 5000K and one actinic blue 7100K. I don't know if the light intensity of 18W is enough to grow or maintain existing purple coralline. <If there weren't too many competing and/or predatory organisms in this system, maybe> Do you think that coralline on live rock need a high intensity light, or low intensity light? <There are species that require either and some that can only live with one, high or low... Not trying to "be funny". This is so. To the point, under what conditions (light et al.) was this rock and coralline growing before your getting it?> Is my 18W Mini-Might got enough intensity for a tank height of 20"? <Not for much in the way of "light-using life".> If the intensity isn't enough and I put 2 sets of Mini-Might, i.e. 36W, will this be too much intensity? <Not too much> Will 36W be too much intensity and bleach the purple color on coralline to white? <Again, what were the prevailing light, water quality parameters where the rock came from? Unless it had "just been there" a short while, this is what the life in/on the rock is "used to"> I won't be added any soft corals in future, only want to keep the purple coralline algae on the 2 pieces of live rocks (each L/R size 6" x 4" x 3"). Do you have any suggestions on lighting I used on my 20" high hex tank? <Hmm, actually, to get/use a larger tank. I agree with you that your options are too small with the dimensions of this system... fluorescents don't fit it... metal halides overheat it...> Also, is it true that the growing of coralline algae also rely on spectrum of light? <Yes my friend. You know important things about these rhodophytes. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/corlalgfaqs.htm> Do we need to replace the power compact tube around 9 months, despite it is working? <Yes, again please peruse our site re this topic: http://wetwebmedia.com/lighting.htm and the many related files.> Thanks for your help. <A pleasure, honor and duty. Bob Fenner> Best wishes, Alex

Tank setup. l Mr. Fenner, I apologize for what has been happening. I have no idea why my text is not getting through?  <Me neither... but no worries> Anyway, the reason I was writing to you is because I am trying to cycle my tank. I have a 55 gallon marine tank. I added tap water to the tank and turned all my equipment on. A week later I added 30 lbs of semi-cured LR. At this point my skimmer started skimming. Three days later I added another 45 lbs or Rock. One of my friends recommended that I throw a dead shrimp in there and let it decompose to help the cycle.  <Yikes... there was/is plenty of other sources of starter media/decomposition from the live rock... pull the shrimp carcass out.> It has been four weeks now that the rock has been in there. All my testing has not shown any changes until today. For four weeks the ammonia was at .25 ppm, nitrate 10ppm, and nitrite .5 ppm. Just last night nitrate dropped to 2.5 ppm and the nitrite dropped to .2 ppm. The ammonia is still at .25 ppm. I have cleaned my canister twice because it was getting filled up with sand due to my shifting of the rock. After the cleaning, I added water that I let aerate for a week. Those are the only water changes that I have made. Are my test results normal? <Hmm, yes... under the circumstances. Likely the addition of so much new LR so quickly for this size, shape system... and the addition of the shrimp... forestalled establishment of cycling... Hold off on adding any livestock at this point.> This morning I also noticed a brown type of algae building up on the tank walls and the sand. I am not sure if this is normal either. <Yes, normal. To be expected.> On a side note. I also noticed that the green, purple and red coralline on the rock is turning white. Is it dying? <Yes, some... along with other changes, succession.> Please refer to the close up of the rock that I sent you. It shows the white spots on it. There is also some white hairy stuff growing on the rock. Unfortunately I don't have a pic of that. I did notice on your FAQ about someone else experiencing this. Can I do anything to stop the coralline from turning white and stop the hairy white stuff from growing on the rock? <Yes...> My equipment is as follows: 1)55 Gal rectangular tank 2)Ehiem 2026 Pro II Filter Media: (1) Ehfi Mech (2) Ehfi Substrat (1) Pad and Pillow set (1) 3 Pak carbon pads 3)Bak-Pak 2 protein Skimmer w/bio bale 4) (2) Maxi-Jet Powerhead (1) 600 and (1) 900 5)New and Improved JBJ lighting. (4) 55W power compacts. Two daylight and two blue, 10,000K each. Thanks again, -RK <Read further on the WWM site re corallines: http://wetwebmedia.com/corlalgfaqs.htm is the "pro" coralline algae FAQs section... You can boost, retain this encrusting algal growth with attention to pH, alkalinity and biomineral content at this point. Do keep monitoring your water quality otherwise, doing water changes if more than 1.0 ppm of either ammonia, nitrites... And we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Coralline Algae Problem <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am requesting consultation on what appears to be a very acute coralline algae die off, I saw the first signs today (though it may have been visible yesterday, I had been awake 40something hrs when I got home last night). I have 50# of live rock, 2 big rocks are the most beautifully coated with purple and the tops of them are affected, as are the small purple patches on my walls, which were fine over the weekend and are now ALL completely white. <no worries.. usually very easy to diagnose and always redeemable within months> History: 15 month old 40gal Eclipse reef with lots of polyps and overstocked with fish, but no change in occupants since 8/01. All the inverts look great, the water parameters today are pH 8.3 NH3 0 NO2 O NO3 25 (pretty stable) Ca ~430 KH 11 PO4 0.4 <that rules out one of the culprits...sudden Alk depletion> While I know this isn't perfect, the only one that has changed is KH.  <actually a fine batch of numbers in general> In recent weeks it's been 7-8 and so I added more Seachem reef buffer 3 days in a row early this week, bringing it as expected to 11.  <OK..7-8 was really pushing your luck> My "snowstorm" problem seems to have gone away suddenly- last night I added the twice weekly Seachem Reef Carbonate and it didn't do it for the first time in several weeks.  <did you actually see a precipitation (AKA snowstorm)?> I have been adding Seachem Reef Complete (Ca) erratically. I used to add it 2x/week religiously. When I changed to aragonite substrate in 11/01, my Ca was always high even without it. I thought it might be contributing to my snowstorm, so I haven't added it in 2 weeks. Other recent activity (lots) 1. on 2/22 I upgraded my light to the power compact for Eclipse hoods. I rapidly advanced from 4 hrs to 8 then sort of forgot about it, still 8hrs. Gets some natural sunlight in the am also. <WOW...the number one cause of coralline bleaching... sudden increase in light. BINGO. Some aquarists also experience this without new lamps or fixtures when they do a water change with the lights on... then all of the corallines left high and dry under the bright lamps (with the dropped water level) bleach white right down to the water line within 24 hrs> 2. Over the weekend I removed my plenum (took all day, removed all inhabitants into heated circulated Rubbermaid's, removed all substrate and plenum, rinsed tank bottom clean with RO, emptied dry, filled with 60# sugar size live aragonite sand (Coralife?)). Everything looked great at the end of the ordeal and still does (full polyp extension, happy looking fish). <no worries here> 3. Yesterday added 1# of GARF Grunge. (Could there be a specific thing in there that is bad for my algae but not anyone else?) <nope... did not help or hurt> 4. Added some Caulerpa on Monday, doesn't seem to be doing very well. Does this excrete toxins as it dies? <very much so... I can't stand using Caulerpa in garden reef aquaria... many complications (inhibiting growth of stonies, discolorants into water, antibiotic properties...just awful and unnatural for scleractinian reef displays> Filtration is PolyFilter and carbon and Phosguard, all fresh at the beginning of the month.  <excellent> My protein skimmer after a long period of not working well is finally producing well this week (cleaned by my engineer sister over the weekend). <excellent again... and a sugar cookie for her> I know this is a lot of background for one question, but I love my purple algae and I have a feeling it isn't a simple question.  <on the contrary... a common question and simple solutions> I realize there are a lot of variables but any suggestion as to emergency intervention would be much appreciated! <the number two cause of corallines bleaching by the way is a sudden drop in salinity as with the sudden influx of gallons of freshwater or less saline saltwater for evaporation top-off. You however, have had the pleasure of bleaching them from new sexy lights without a gradual acclimation. Be grateful that you didn't wipe out a tank full of corals due to light shock at the same time. hehe... we live and learn. Try Seachem's sugar-based calcium (Reef Calcium- a gluconate) for 2-4 months faithfully... great for growing corallines (although not much else). Best regards, Anthony> Tracy Creek Atlanta

Coralline Algae Problem II Thanks for the reply... I am still left with questions... my lighting is actually unchanged since about 3/1... I increased from 4 hrs to 8 hrs over ten days from 2/22-early March, but nothing happened back then. Do you expect the bleaching to be delayed by three weeks?  <honestly, no... seems likely to be another cause> Can I continue to increase the photoperiod back to 12 hours, and if so, at what rate should I increase it now? <really tough to say without a luxmeter. Increasing an hour per week seems reasonable to me though> Also, I think that my snowstorm problem I have been having was caused by my adding the Ca gluconate you suggest... my Ca stays at 420 or so because of my aragonite, and the weeks I add the SeaChem Ca I have much worse snow storming and KH is 7-8.  <it seems highly unlikely... are you confusing a simple temporary clouding of the water with the catastrophic "snowstorm"? A "snowstorm" is a sudden and severe crystalline precipitation of calcium carbonate that looks literally like snowflakes polluting and aquarium an is quite dramatic! Your calcium/carbonate levels plummet within 12-24 hours and it can be fatal to many, most or all livestock in the tank at times. When you say "snow storming" this implies to me that it happens to you regularly and such a thing is nearly impossible within weeks (gross neglect would be necessary). We should be clear on this term first. What is your drop in chemistry and over what period of time?> I stopped adding it 2 weeks ago and the snowstorm has resolved and my KH is finally back up to 11 now. Should I just add it anyway? I am afraid I am going to have one of those alkalinity and Ca crashes if I keep adding the Seachem Ca. Is this a misconception? <hmmmm...it sounds to me like chemically the tank is a bit out of whack, so to speak. My advice would be to stop using separate supplements and after several large water changes (at which time calcium and alkalinity will be slightly depressed but at least more balanced) you should use a two part liquid calcium supplement like B-Ionic or Sea Balance. This will keep your Ca/ALK ratio in balance to stabilize the tank. Best regards, Anthony> Tracy Creek

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